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Cablegate: Panama: The Latest On Kosovo

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0780 2761917
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 021917Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2549
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0329

C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 000780

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2018
TAGS: PREL UNGA PM KV
SUBJECT: PANAMA: THE LATEST ON KOSOVO

REF: REFTEL 91908

Classified By: Classified by POLCOUNS Brian R. Naranjo for
reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

--------------------------------------
Panama will recognize Kosovo in January
---------------------------------------

1. (C) "Panama will recognize Kosovo. We will recognize
Kosovo after our term on the Security Council ends and before
the new U.S. President is sworn in," 1st VP and FM Vice
Samuel Lewis told Ambassador on September 30. Lewis
reiterated the he believed that Panama could be more helpful
on Georgia if it did not recognize Kosovo now. Ambassador
noted that Panama had made numerous commitments to recognize
Kosovo in the past, to which Lewis underscored Panama's
commitment to recognize Kosovo in the first half of January.

--------------------------------------
Europeans Need to Lead on ICJ Referral
--------------------------------------

2. (C) "It is too hard for small countries like Panama to go
against ICJ referral," Lewis said. "The Europeans need to
carry the water on this issue. The French seem more
interested in oil deals with Russia and integrating Serbia
into Europe. If the Europeans are prepared to let ICJ
referral go forward, Panama does not want to get in the way.
What's Panama to do if the Euros don't get out in front on
ICJ referral?" Lewis asked rhetorically. Ambassador and
POLCOUNS re-deployed Reftel talking points, to which Lewis
underscored that the Europeans need lead on this issue.

-------
Comment
-------

3. (C) Lewis' rationalization that it could be more helpful
on Georgia if it did not recognize Kosovo is nonsense;
Ambassador batted down this argument in her conversation with
Lewis. Lewis is aware, however, that Panama cannot continue
to come up with excuses on Kosovo recognition and needs to
act. The commitment to recognize after Panama leaves the
UNSC on December 31 and before the U.S. inauguration is the
firmest commitment by Lewis to date to act on this matter.
As for ICJ referral, whereas previously Lewis had suggested
that his concerns were primarily legal, he has now clarified
that they are primarily political, if tactical: if the
Europeans are prepared to let ICJ referral go forward, Panama
should not get in the way.
STEPHENSON

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